Nicholas Greer is broke and on the verge of divorce. The life of Frank Spira, the controversial British painter he’s been researching for six years, has become more real to him than his own. But the book is finished now—a nine-hundred-page monument and the definitive biography. At least it looks that way until Nick gets a
call telling him that one of Spira’s ex-lovers, Jacob Grossman, a man who went missing twenty-six years ago, has been spotted in Manhattan, eighty-four years old and homeless.
Nick tracks Grossman to a hostel, hoping to find answers to the few niggling questions that remain. Instead he gets news of a picture, a work created by Spira in Tangier in the fall of 1957, which the artist supposedly destroyed. If it existed, Incarnation, Spira’s only religious work, would now be worth a small fortune.
An hour after the interview, Jacob Grossman is brutally murdered, and Nick finds himself drawn into a search for explanations. Going back to his sources, he uncovers a series of lies, secrets, and disturbing behavior, and begins to make out a flaw running through Spira’s life, a dark seam that leads all the way back to Tangier. Only as Nick comes to understand the significance of what Spira achieved with Incarnation does he realize that he too is the object of someone’s scrutiny, a collector for whom the missing work is Spira’s crowning achievement.
Moving between London, New York, and Tangier, Spiral unfolds in the bizarre and sinister underbelly of the art world. Intricately plotted and deeply atmospheric, it is a relentlessly suspenseful story of art and obsession.